6.8.2024 - 6.16.2024. Food. New York.

I was home for 2 weeks then I had to return to New York again for more post production. This time, I tried to check out mostly new places. There were definitely some interesting finds. Due to the fact that prices have gone up so much, I decided to see if I am able to find somewhat "cheap" eats for some of it. So Oli sent me on my merry way around Chinatown.

As mentioned before, I do get significantly better Asian cuisines in San Francisco. So I was hell bent on finding a few places that are comparable in NY Chinatown. I was able to find the best meal you can get for $2.50 at Mei Lai Wan with their famous pineapple pork buns. I went there 3 mornings for breakfast. I highly recommend checking this out for yourself. Eat it there while it's still warm.

My first meal after I landed was at Yiwanmen at 150 Mott. I got a bowl of their Lanzhou original noodle soup. The broth was amazing, and flavored to perfection. It was exactly what I wanted for dinner after a long flight and it was $11. They also had a variety of Chongqing red oil noodles. So if you re in the mood for affordable authentic Chinese noodles, this is definitely the place.

Since it was so warm out and I love walking around Soho/East Village/LES, I decided to walk to East Village for my favorite milk tea at Xing Fu Tang. That was until I realized that Cha-An was still open and a parfait or shave ice would be even better. Cha-An had been on my radar because it's an authentic matcha tea house with Japanese dessert offerings. And we all know how much I love authentic Japanese desserts. I was able to squeeze in for their last seating at the tea house for the hojicha shave ice. Honestly, I think I love hojicha more than matcha, because I went back a week later and I got the matcha shave ice to compare. Oli got the black sesame crème brûlée that he was in love with. Cha-An also have Cha-An Bonbon 2 doors down where they sell Japanese confections in addition to parfaits. I really wanted to try their parfait as it was a sakura one with hojicha soft serve. But alas, the shave ice won this time. At the tea house, they also have a Japanese afternoon tea you can make a reservation for. One of these days I will try it!

The next day, I started with brunch at Thai Diner. I had been wanting to check out Thai Diner as I have heard good things and I have only ever had mediocre Thai in NY. We still have better Asian food in SF, but Thai Diner was fun. I went back for dinner with a group just to have a variety of their menu. I liked dinner there even more. I recommend the lobster omelette chu chee, khao soi, Uncle Boon's khao pat puu, crispy snapper raad prik, and Uncle Boon's famous coconut sundae.

One of the highlight meals this time around was Atoboy, by the same people behind Atomix. Atoboy is the more accessible Korean small bite restaurant and the tasty menu starts at $75 each. I would recommend going with 3 or more as each course has 3 selections, that way, you can try one of everything. Definitely add their double fried chicken as well. I highly recommend you checking out Atoboy as soon as possible.

sea urchin: egg jjim, gim, quinoa
yellowtail: cucumber naengguk, dashima, jicama<
beef tartare: shishito, myeolchi, perilla
korean pear: calamansi, almond, pave vecchio
squash: gangjeong, pepper, fontina
octopus: eggplant, chunjang, buchu
sweet shrimp: white kimchi, beurre blanc, peas
cod: gochujang curry, bopuragi, cherry tomato
short rib: oxtail, asparagus, kimchi
pork belly: cauliflower, jeotgal, kale
fried chicken: spicy peanut sauce, yang yummy sauce

Then back to my daily frozen matcha at Matchaful

After breakfast one morning, I went to Dominique Ansel of cronut fame with my colleague to get some pastries.

I had to try the teas at Chicha San Chen as I am a tea aficionado and they just opened in Chinatown NY. They hand pick their tea leaves in Taiwan and brew each individually. The line there can be a bit long, so I would recommend you ordering ahead on Snackpass, unless you you are on a leisurely schedule. For those of you who are serious about tea, this is definitely a place to check out. They also offer tea tastings. In case you were hungry, Mei Lai Wah is a few doors down for some pineapple pork buns to go with your tea. I got the original milk tea and the passionfruit green tea. It's a unique tea experience as most people would have not seen tea brewed like this before. However, I still think Xing Fu Tang has the best authentic milk tea.

To end my trip, my last sit down meal was at Estela. Estela is usually the first reservation I make whenever I have a trip to NY. This was my first time having lunch there, which I preferred over my usual dinners there. It felt more leisurely and it's the same menu as dinner. I have taken many people to Estela, and many of them tell me that it's the best meal they had that year. I love going back there to see what new dishes they have that season as I find their sauces the most interesting.

oysters with yuzu kosho mignonette
scallops with brown butter and golden potatoes
endive with walnuts, anchovy, and ubriaco rosso
fried arroz negro, squid, and romesco
ricotta dumplings with mushrooms and pecorino sardo

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